Monday, May 05, 2008

Intestinal worms impair child health in the Philippines

Intestinal worms impair child health in the Philippines: "-90% in children aged 2-14 years. Up to 30% of the population of 22 million children may have one or more of the three most common types of soil transmitted helminths: roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm.

“The common intestinal helminths, or worms, are becoming a major health problem in the country, particularly among children,” reported Dr Yvonne Lumampao, manager of the project to control soil transmitted helminths.

The WHO’s headquarters in Manila held a regional meeting on these diseases last year after the former prime minister of Japan, Ryutaro Hashimoto, raised the issue. “Most countries were doing nothing. They didn’t have national programmes, and some didn’t even have a recognition that it was a problem,” pointed out Dr Kevin Palmer, regional adviser in parasitic diseases at the WHO’s Manila headquarters.

Infection through ingestion or skin penetration, or both, often affects children’s performance in school as it can cause stunted growth, decreased physical activity, and poor physical and mental development, Dr Lumampao said. The most common symptoms of worm infestation are pain, enlargement of the abdomen, loss of appetite and weight, vomiting, insomnia, and irregular respiration."

Treatment is as simple and easy as three yearly doses of albendazole (whatever that is).

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